The Oilseed Complex covers everything from the production of grains to their industrialization (crude and refined oils, processed byproducts of the oilseed industry –pellets- and biodiesel).
Within the country’s oilseed production in 2011, that of soybean is by far the most important (it stands for 84% of the overall oil production), followed by sunflower (15%). The rest of the oils (corn, olive, cotton, peanut, linseed and colza) have a marginal participation, argues the mentioned report of the Ministry of Economy.
The important dynamism evidenced by this complex is associated to the strong expansion the soybean crop had from the moment it was introduced in the country in the 70s up to its present evolution.
It has a strongly foreign-market oriented profile, representing Argentina’s major export complex (26.2% of the whole exports of 2011).
The bulk of soybean’s primary production (75%) is devoted to industrialization, while the remaining part is exported. In the case of sunflower production, most of it is destined to oil production, exports being of marginal significance.
Of the whole soybean crude oil produce of 2011, 67% is destined for export, 27% to the production of biodiesel and the remaining part to refining (both for domestic consumption and other industries). Regarding sunflower oil, most of it is exported as well (two thirds of the whole), and the rest is refined mainly for domestic consumption (edible oil) and, at a smaller scale, for industrial use (margarines, mayonnaises, bakery and other foods).
The oil industry byproducts (protein meals and cakes) are processed and turned into pellets for balanced feeds production.
Out of the 51 oil manufacturing plants in activity (belonging to the 37 companies), a large number are located in the provinces of Santa Fe (22) and Buenos Aires (16), the rest being spread around Córdoba (6), Entre Ríos (4), La Pampa (1) and Santiago del Estero (1).
Production is strongly concentrated in Santa Fe (80%). Following in importance are Buenos Aires (11%), Cordoba (5%) and Santiago del Estero (2%), according to official data of 2011.